Thursday, August 30, 2012

"The Scout" and Grace

Another film that I have been thinking about over the past week, "The Scout", starring Albert Brooks as a sport talent scout and Brendan Fraser as a multi-talented baseball player living in Mexico, reminded me of the prime role that motivation plays in the life of the believer.

Albert Brooks was down on his luck. The last rookie that he brought into the Major Leagues turned out to be a frightened religious fanatic who did not deliver at all. The whole episode was so humiliating, that his agency then sent him south to Mexico to look for another talent.

Then he attended a local game, where the star of the whole show, played by Brendan Fraser, shut out every hitter who came up to bat. This pitcher was beyond magnificent, revered as a god by the local inhabitants, who treated him to eat whatever he wanted at the local restaurant on the house.

Brook's agency fired him on the spot, but he refused to give up on the amazing ball that he had just found, seeing money just rolling into his life.

After bringing the Mexican baseball star to New York, Brooks noticed that the man was not as well-adjusted after all. In one scene, he starts throwing dinner plates at a crowd of photographers. In a session with a well-known psychiatrist, Brooks finds out that the man had a strained, abusive relationship with his father, somewhat like the same tensions that start to spark up between the talent agent and the player right then and there.

A long, drawn out emotional battle emerges between the two main character, up to the point where Brooks wants to fly in the Mexican pitcher on a helicopter for the first game, but the sports star is less and less interested in getting involved.

The fight between the two escalates then culminates at the top of the stadium, at which point Fraser refused to go down and throw any pitches at all. At that point, Brooks relents:

"All right, you know what, you don't have to go down and play."

"Really?" Fraser responds, surprised and somewhat relieved."

"No, that's all right. .  Let's go home."

"Well, you know what, maybe it will be fun after all," Fraser admits out loud. "Why not? I think it will be fun!"

"You'll go!" Brooks asked, excited.

So Fraser and Brooks descend into the helicopter, Fraser steps out to pitch for the entire game, a predictable shut-out like his previous successes in Mexico.

At the end of the movie, Brooks and Fraser settle down to do the baseball star's laundry, the most relaxing part of the day for him.

The part of the movie, the final confrontation at the top of the stadium, reminds me of the battle which erupts inside of believers. To the degree that they are required to do something, which is Law, they then find themselves completely resistance and unwilling. Yet when believers understand that God is not mad at them, not forcing them to do anything, that He will accept them just as they are, this love then quickens believers to go out and do great things, just as Fraser was willing to pitch once he knew that he did not have to, or that he did not have to in order to have the esteem of Brooks.

This is the gospel -- that God so loved us to send His Son to die in our place, that in Him we are totally accepted. He then comes to live in us and quicken us in His love to go out there and live out His life in us!

This is grace at its simplest, moved by the Spirit of love to love others!

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